music is a style of Christian music that has both inspired and drawn from
popular music traditions. By definition, gospel music can derive from any
number of ethnic styles and religious traditions, but in practice, Black
American gospel music dominates the genre.
gospel songs emerged from traditional church hymns. Over time, gospel began
incorporating traits of secular music—particularly country music, blues, and
ragtime—which made the music as entertaining as it was reverent. Gospel's
relationship with secular music ran in both directions; many gospel singers and
soloists began their musical journeys singing in church before transitioning to
popular music. Gospel artists including Little Richard and Aretha Franklin
helped shape the sound of R&B and rock 'n' roll.
music has deeply influenced American popular culture from its
eighteenth-century origins to the present day. Like Latest gospel songs
• Anglican roots: Some of the most famous
contemporary gospel songs, including "Amazing Grace" and "Rock
of Ages," began as hymnal songs in the eighteenth century Anglican church.
These hymns would later be set to the melodies we know today.
• Defined in the nineteenth century: The
phrase "gospel music" appears to have first been printed in 1874,
when composer and Baptist evangelist Philip Bliss published Gospel Songs: A
Choice Collection of Hymns and Tunes. The word "gospel" referred to
the Biblical message of Jesus Christ as the son of God. The published music was
generally catchier and more accessible than most church hymns of the era.
• Country music and rural gospel: While
Black American gospel music would eventually become the prevailing style, from
the 1870s through the 1920s, gospel music centered around white churches and
the country music tradition. (Latest naija gospel music)
Prominent gospel artists of the era included
Ira D. Sankey, George F. Root, and the Carter Family.
• Gospel in the Black church: Praise
songs have long been a part of the Black church, and popular recordings of
Black gospel music gained recognition in the 1920s and 1930s. Early Black
American gospel stars included the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Five
Blind Boys of Alabama, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (an early progenitor of rock ‘n’
roll), and Arizona Dranes.
• Formal gospel music publishing: Chicago
musician Thomas A. Dorsey saw great potential in Black American gospel music,
and in 1930, he began a publishing house dedicated to the art form. As a
songwriter, Dorsey came to be known as the “Father of
Music” and partnered with vocalist Mahalia Jackson to consciously usher gospel
music into popular culture.
• The golden age of gospel: Black gospel
music reached its popular peak in the decades surrounding World War II. Vibrant
gospel scenes emerged in cities touched by the Great Migration (the Black
American emigration from the South to the North)—including New York, Chicago,
Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Major gospel stars of the era included Roberta
Martin, Clara Ward, Pilgrim Travelers, Soul Stirrers, and the Reverend James
• Crossover artists: By the 1950s and
1960s, many gospel artists began forays into mainstream secular music. Soul and
R&B singers such as Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, and Sam Cooke all
learned their trade in Baptist and Pentecostal gospel choirs, which laid the foundation
for secular R&B and rock music. Gospel music also deeply influenced the
sound of soul in the 1960s. In more recent decades, artists like Kirk Franklin
and Yolanda Adams have toggled back and forth between gospel and secular music,
selling millions of records in the process.
• Urban contemporary gospel: In the
1970s, artists like the Clark Sisters, Andrae Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Yolanda
Adams, and Kirk Franklin merged spiritual music with the popular styles of the
time. Today’s gospel artists delve into new popular music styles such as
hip-hop and contemporary R&B.
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